When You Get in Bed With ALEC, Bring a Gas Mask
Utah has been listed as the number one place to do business by ALEC four years in a row. What does it look like to be the Darling of ALEC. ALEC loves states with out pesky environmental standards. This photo of Salt Lake City appeared in the LDS Church owned Deseret News this week end and tells the story better than any essay.
The website “Earth Times” published this summary of ALEC's Environmental initiatives early last year it is approprate to revisit the publication again.
According to Earth Times Web site:
ALEC acknowledges in its own literature ("EPA's Regulatory Trainwreck” 2011) that it aims to undermine EPA regulations to further the interests of industry. Its model bills give states the right to opt out of EPA regulations such as the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act. ALEC even advocates resolutions that ban regulation of carbon dioxide altogether.
ALEC's model bill "Resolution to Retain State Authority Over Coal Ash as Non-Hazardous Waste" would allow toxic metals to contaminate the water system. Coal ash contains toxins such as mercury, arsenic, and beryllium, which pose a grave threat to public health. Although ALEC typically influences state law, a very similar bill passed in the House in April 2012.
Meanwhile, ALEC's model bill "Resolution to Retain State Authority Over Hydraulic Fracturing" attempts to give states the authority to opt out of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill claims, "Hydraulic fracturing is a proven technology with a long history of environmentally safe use in the completion of oil and gas wells." This bill has passed in Utah, while ALEC-based laws that allow fracking companies to avoid disclosure of chemicals have passed in a number of states such as Texas and Ohio, as a ProPublica article explains. These are just a few examples of a multitude of bills that have allowed industry-friendly legislatures to opt out of federal standards. Other bills, including "Resolution in Opposition of Carbon Dioxide Standards," provide an umbrella of un-accountability for all polluting industries.
ALEC also creates bills giving states the right to opt out of international environmental agreements such as the Kyoto protocol. Such legislation imposes a significant barrier to the U.S. joining a global climate change mitigation agreement.
These resolutions deny or minimize the problem of climate change, providing a firm foundation for undermining environmental protections and the public wellbeing. In addition to subverting federal regulations, some ALEC-based bills aim to subvert regional initiatives to mitigate climate change. ALEC's "State Withdrawal from Regional Climate Initiatives" bill aims to halt the formation of agreements such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative of the northeast and the Western Climate Initiative..
The bill has passed in New Jersey and appeared in numerous other states such as Iowa, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington. A similar bill that passed in Utah cites the discounted "Climategate" scandal as reason to halt EPA regulations of CO2. This resolution, HJR12, Climate Change Joint Resolution, denies that carbon dioxide causes climate change and demands that the EPA cease regulating it immediately.